It seems eating temptations to ‘eat now’ or ‘eat more’ are everywhere – in the office, at social gatherings, near store cash registers or when driving by billboards and restaurants.
But what about inside your home?
Your home is the one environment you have control over and as I tell all of my patients, you need to be assertive in controlling your food environment at home so it works for you, not against you.
Here are some tips:
1 – Clear Home of Less Healthy Foods
Eating more healthfully will be easier when you’re not surrounded by the foods that keep calling your name. Chips, cookies, candies, ice cream and soda are some examples. Know that you can still enjoy these foods outside of the house in an empowered, fun and social way.
2 – Find Healthier Substitutes so You Don’t Feel Deprived
Deprivation is not the name of the game when it comes to healthy weight loss. Instead, it’s important to identify healthier substitutes for the foods you crave.
Some examples include Skinny Pop popcorn for cheese puffs or chips; frozen grapes, sweet cherries or apple slices instead of candy; calorie-controlled frozen fudge bars or Yasso frozen yogurt bars instead of ice cream; sugar-free pudding cups instead of cookies; flavored sparkling waters instead of soda.
Take time when at the grocery store to read food labels and compare products. You can also get more ideas by looking at healthier, sweet treat recipes online like ‘energy bites’. Or you can read healthy eating blogs to get more ideas.
3 – Make Healthy Options the Easiest Choice
It’s true that some families may insist on keeping certain treats at home. It’s also a given that at holiday times, foods you crave may come inside your home. That’s why you also need to try and limit the food cues around your home that keep tempting you to eat.
To nudge better eating habits, here are some examples from my self-help book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You!:
- Keep tempting treats out of sight on a high shelf in opaque containers or even in another less accessible room like the laundry room.
- Clear counters of snack foods and sweet treats and replace them with a fruit bowl.
- Remove candy and nut bowls from your living areas or fill them with potpourri.
- In the refrigerator, move produce from the crisper drawer to the eye-level shelf, and move less healthful foods to the crisper drawer.
- When saving leftovers, wrap healthier foods in the clear wrap so they’re visible and the less healthy foods in aluminum foil.
4 – Be Flexible and Forgiving
Know that your goal is not to be perfect or create the perfect home. Instead you can use the 80/20 rule whereas if 80% of the time you’re eating healthy foods, it’s okay if 20% of the time you’re eating less healthy foods.
Food can still be comforting, be pleasurable and taste good, but you need to work on taking back control so food doesn’t have so much power over you.
Making your home a safe haven can help set you up for weight loss success.
Stay safe and be well!
Robert Kushner, MD